Leviticus Chapter 16 Continued
We began the study of the way the offering is made in the Holy of Holies in the last lesson. The only one permitted to go into the Holy of Holies is Aaron, the high priest, and him only one time a year. Every detail must be carried out to the letter, or God will kill him. He learned this the hard way when 2 of his sons carried strange fire into the tabernacle, and God killed them.
Leviticus 16:15 “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that [is] for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:”
That upon which the lot came for the Lord (Lev. 16:9). The high priest having sprinkled the blood of the bullock, came out of the most Holy Place, and went into the court of the tabernacle to the altar of burnt offering. And on the north side of that slew the goat for the sin offering, the place where all such were killed (see Lev. 1:11). This was a type of Christ, of his being slain, and made an offering for the sins of his people.
“And bring his blood within the vail”: It being received into a basin, as before the blood of the bullock was, he took it, and with it went in a third time into the most Holy Place.
“And do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat”: It should be rendered “toward the mercy seat” it is by Noldius (see notes on Lev. 16:14).
The offering of the blood of the bullock in the last lesson, was to make him acceptable to God to bring the blood of the sin offering into the holiest place for the congregation. Symbolically it was as if the sins of the people were under this blood that he sprinkled. We have said it before but it bears repeating, this blood sprinkled could not clear the conscience of the person being offered for. It could only cover the sin, not do away with it. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can clear the conscience.
Leviticus 16:16 “And he shall make an atonement for the holy [place], because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.”
“Atonement for the Holy Place”: The object of this solemn ceremony was to impress the minds of the Israelites with the conviction that the whole tabernacle was stained by the sins of a guilty people. By those sins, they had forfeited the privileges of the presence of God and worship of Him, so that an atonement had to be made for their sins as the condition of God remaining with them.
We see that even the tabernacle must be sacrificed for, because the place that it was set up was in the midst of a sinful people. Just as Aaron had to sacrifice for himself first, and then for the people. God is a holy God.
Leviticus 16:17 “And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy [place], until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.”
“Himself … his household … congregation”: The Day of Atonement was necessary for everyone since all had sinned, including the High-Priest.
Not only could no one except Aaron go into the holiest place, but there could not any of the congregation even be in the tabernacle when Aaron was in the holiest place. Any error in the way the offering was made, could cause death.
Leviticus 16:18 “And he shall go out unto the altar that [is] before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar round about.”
The golden altar, the altar of incense, which stood in the Holy Place without the vail, over against the most Holy Place, where Jehovah dwelt. And so is said to be before him. And according to (Exodus 30:10); once a year Aaron was to make an atonement on the horns of it. With the blood of the sin offering, which plainly refers to this time, the Day of Atonement.
“And make an atonement for it”: Where incense was daily offered up, signifying the prayers of the saints. Which having many failings and imperfections in them, yea, many sins and transgressions attending them, need atonement by the blood of Christ, of which this was a type.
“And shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat”: He takes the blood of the bullock, and the blood of the goat, and mixes them together. The account given of this affair in the Misnah is; he poured the blood of the bullock into the blood of the goat. And then put a full basin into an empty one, that it might be well mixed together. And having so done, he did as follows:
“And put it upon the horns of the altar round about”: Upon the four horns which were around it; and it is asked in the Misnah, where did he begin? At the northeast horn, and so to the northwest, and then to the southwest, and (ended), at the southeast. At the place where he began with the sin offering on the outward altar, there he finished on the inward altar, and as he went along he put the blood on each horn, which was the atonement for the altar.
The cleansing of the altar itself must be done with blood. We mentioned before that the blood on the horns symbolizes that the power was in the blood.
Leviticus 16:19 “And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.”
This was done with his right finger, or forefinger, as the Targum of Jonathan. And seven times, to denote the perfect cleansing of the altar with it. Jarchi observes, that after he, the high priest, had put the blood upon the horns of it, he sprinkled of it seven sprinklings on the top of it. The Misnah says, upon the pure place of it. That is, upon a place of it, from whence the coals and ashes were removed, and where the gold appeared.
“And cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel”: By sprinkling the blood upon it. Jarchi’s note is, “and cleanse it” from what was past, “and hallow it” for time to come.
Again, we see that the 7 times completes the cleansing. The holiness of God is very evident.
Verses 20-22: This “sin offering of atonement” portrayed Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice (verses 21-22), with the result that the sinner’s sins were removed (verse 22; see notes on Isa. 52:13 – 53:12), for another discussion of these truths. Christ lived out this representation when He cried from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
Leviticus 16:20 “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy [place], and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:”
That is, the Holy of Holies. By carrying in the blood of the bullock, and of the goat there, and sprinkling them as before observed.
“And the tabernacle of the congregation”: The great court where the people met, and where the altar of burnt offering stood.
“And the altar”: The altar of incense in the Holy Place. And so all the parts of the tabernacle were reconciled and atoned for, even the Holy of Holies, the Holy Place, and the court of the people. All the work the day of atonement, we are told, was done according to the order prescribed, and that if anything was done before another, it was doing nothing. Thus, for instance, if the blood of the goat went before (or was sprinkled before), the blood of the bullock, he must return and sprinkle of the blood of the goat after the blood of the bullock. And if before he has finished the putting (of the blood) within, the blood is poured out (that is, at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering), he shall bring other blood, and return and sprinkle anew within. And so in the temple, and at the golden altar, for every atonement is by itself.
“He shall bring the live goat”: That which remained alive after the other was slain, as it was to do, according to the lot that fell upon it Lev. 16:10). This was brought to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, whither the high priest went, and performed the following rites.
Verses 21-22: “Hands of the head of the live goat”: This act was more than a symbolic gesture; it was a picture of the ultimate “substitutionary atonement” fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ (compare Isa. 53:5-6; 10:12; see note on 2 Cor. 5:21).
Leviticus 16:21 “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send [him] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:”
With the imposition of “both his hands.” A phrase which only occurs in this ceremony. The high priest indicated in the most solemn manner possible that the animal was intended both for the priesthood and for the laity.
“Confess over him”: The form of confession used on this occasion in later times was: “O Lord, Thy people, the house of Israel, have transgressed, they have rebelled, they have sinned before Thee. I beseech Thee now absolve their transgressions, their rebellion, and their sin that they have sinned against Thee. As it is written in the law of Moses Thy servant, that on this day he shall make atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins, and ye shall be clean.”
“Putting them upon the head of the goat”: By this imposition of hands, and the confession, the high priest transferred the sins of the nation to the goat. He then turned to the people, and declared, “Ye shall be clean.”
“Send him away by the hand of a fit man”: Literally, a timely man, or a man at hand. Tradition says that the man was appointed for this work the year before.
We mentioned earlier, that the blood of these animals could only cover the sin. It could not clear the conscience. In these verses above, Aaron puts both of his hands on the live goat. While both his hands are on the head of the live goat, he confesses all the sins of the people. Just as the other animal shed his blood to cover the sins, this live goat will be sent into the wilderness bearing the sins out of their sight. Both animals symbolize what Jesus has done for us. He shed His blood for us, and he put our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west. They have been put into the sea of forgetfulness.
Leviticus 16:22 “And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”
Where it would never be seen, and from whence it would never return more. And so was a proper type of Christ, who has borne all the sins of all his people in his own body on the cross, and all the punishment due unto them. And so has made full satisfaction for them, and has removed them from them, as far as the east is from the west, and out of the sight of avenging justice. So that when they are sought they shall not be found, nor shall they ever return unto them, or be brought against them any more (see Isa. 53:12).
“And he shall let go the goat in the wilderness”: That is, the man that was appointed to have taken him there.
There was no real way to completely do away with their sin. Only Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us has done away with our sin. All of these things they did, were just a shadow of what He would do for all who would believe. The shadow resembles the thing it shadows, but is not perfect in detail.
Leviticus 16:23 “And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy [place], and shall leave them there:”
Having been into the most Holy Place a fourth time, as the Jews say, to fetch out the censer and the incense cup. Wherefore the Jewish writers observe, that this verse is not in its proper place. So Jarchi from the Rabbins says, the whole section is in its order, excepting this, which was after the sacrifice of his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people. And the burning the inwards of the bullock and the goat, which were done without in the golden garments. And then he dipped himself, and washed his hands and feet, and stripped and put on the white garments. And went in to fetch the incense cup and the censer, with which he offered in the inmost place (the Holy of Holies).
“And shall put off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place”: The Holy of Holies, that is, as Jarchi interprets it, after he had brought it (the censer) out, then he clothed himself with the golden garments for the daily evening sacrifice. And this was the order of the services (on the Day of Atonement). The daily morning sacrifice (was performed) in the golden garments. The service of the bullock and of the goat, and the incense of the censer, in the white garments. And his ram, and the ram of the people, and some of the additions, in the golden garments. And the bringing out of the incense cup and the censer in the white garments. And the rest of the additions, and the daily evening sacrifice, and the incense of the temple, on the inward altar, in golden garments. And the order of the Scripture, according to the services, so it was.
“And shall leave them there”: In one of the chambers of the tabernacle. As afterwards, in the temple, where they were laid up, never to be used more, as say the Jewish writers, Ben Gersom, and others. Hence we learn, says Jarchi, that they were obliged to be laid up, and he, the high priest, might not minister in these four garments on another Day of Atonement.
These linen garments were special garments to be used only in the presence of God. When Aaron had completed his work in the Holy of Holies, he must remove these garments and put on the garments that he ministered to the people in. Remember, no one was in the tabernacle while Aaron was ministering in the Holy of Holies, so it would be no problem to change into the other garments.
Leviticus 16:24 “And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.”
In the court of the tabernacle of the congregation, where, as Aben Ezra says, they spread fine linen for him. And this washing was no other than the dipping of his whole body in water. And if our Lord was baptized on this day, as some have thought, before observed, whose baptism was by dipping (Matt. 3:16). There will appear in this a great likeness between the type and the antitype.
“And put on his garments and come forth”: Put on his golden garments, and come out of the place where he had washed himself. To the court, where was the altar of burnt offering. All which may be an emblem of Christ’s putting off the pure and spotless garment of the flesh, in which he appeared in a low estate, and made atonement for sin. And of his burial, which the washing of the flesh may point at, being what was used of the dead, and which washing in baptism is a figure of. And of his resurrection from the dead, when God gave him glory, and he appeared in a glorious body, signified by his golden garments put on again.
“And offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people”: His ram, and the people’s ram. And the bullock of the people, and their seven lambs, as it is written (Num. 29:8). So Aben Ezra, first his own, and then the people’s, which order was before observed in the sin offerings.
“And make an atonement for himself, and for the people”: Which though properly made by the sin offerings, and the carrying the blood of them into the most Holy Place. Yet these were the completing of it, being the last of the services peculiar to the Day of Atonement.
These offerings were made at the bronze altar, just inside the tabernacle of the congregation.
Leviticus 16:25 “And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar.”
The brazen altar of burnt offering. And so says Jarchi, on the outward altar. For of the inward (i.e. the altar of incense) it is written, ye shall not offer upon it strange incense, nor a burnt offering, nor a meat offering. And this fat he explains to be what was on the inwards of both the bullock and the goat. And so, says Aben Ezra, the fat of the bullock for the sin offering, and the fat of the goat for a sin offering, and also the fat of the kid of the goat, which, was a sin offering for the priest (Num. 29:11). This fat was burnt at the same time the burnt offerings were offered in (Lev. 16:24).
The fat was always the Lord’s. This burning of the fat made a sweet savor before the LORD.
Leviticus 16:26 “And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.”
The man that let go the goat which served for a remover of sins is to wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh before he comes into the camp. This is not ordered on account of any special defilement attaching to the scapegoat, but only because it had been the symbolical sin-bearer, and therefore conveyed legal uncleanness by its touch. The man who bore the flesh of the goat to be burnt had to do exactly the same thing (verse 25). Both he who led away the goat, and he who burned the parts of the sin-offerings had to purify themselves. They who went out of the camp during a religious solemnity incurred uncleanness; hence, the need of purification.
The purpose in washing his clothes and himself, would be so that none of the contamination from the sin on the animal would remain on him. He would not want to bring sin back into the camp.
Leviticus 16:27 “And the bullock [for] the sin offering, and the goat [for] the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy [place], shall [one] carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.”
“Without the camp”: This represents the historical reality of Christ’s death outside of Jerusalem (compare Heb. 13:10-14).
This complete destruction of these animals without the camp, symbolizes the fact that Jesus was crucified for us outside the city wall. The complete destruction of them symbolizes the complete work that Jesus did for us. Jesus held nothing back, when He paid our debt.
Leviticus 16:28 “And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.”
In forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan. That is, every one of those that burnt them, as Aben Ezra observes. For these being sin offerings, and had a connection with the sins of men, for whom they were offered. The persons concerned in the carrying and burning of them were equally defiled, and needed washing, as the man that led and let go the goat into the wilderness.
“And afterwards he shall come into the camp”: And have the liberty of conversation with men in civil and religious things, but not till evening. So long as he was defiled; and according to the Misnah from the time they got without the walls of the court. And after washing and bathing, and when the evening was come, they were clean; and might go where they pleased.
Here, again, this washing showed that they brought nothing back into the camp with them. They were ceremonially clean.
Leviticus 16:29 “And [this] shall be a statute for ever unto you: [that] in the seventh month, on the tenth [day] of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, [whether it be] one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:”
“Seventh month”: Tishri is Sept./Oct.
“Afflict your souls”: This act of denying oneself was probably with respect to food, making the Day of Atonement the only day of prescribed fasting in Israel’s annual calendar.
This is speaking of the Day of Atonement. On our calendar this would be approximately October. Why we say approximately is because their months begin on the change of the moon. Their first month Abib is approximately our April. This was one of the most important days of their year. We must remember, that each year they had to do all of this again. Their atonement just lasted one year. Thank goodness, our atonement in Jesus Christ is forever.
Leviticus 16:30 “For on that day shall [the priest] make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, [that] ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.”
“Atonement”: More than half of the occurrences of the word Atonement in Scripture are found (in Leviticus chapter 16), which describes the most important day on the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). This annual holy day celebrated the covering of national sins by the offering of two goats to God, one killed and the other driven into the wilderness. In the ceremony, the priest entered the Holy of Holies to present the blood of the slain goat to God. When he came out, the nation knew their sins had been covered for another year. Christ fulfilled this “type” in that He offered His own blood to God (Heb. 9:14). The type of the priest returning from the Holy Place to those whose sins were covered will be fulfilled when Christ returns for those who have been redeemed by His blood. For the Christian, this is a blessed and purifying hope (Titus 2:12-13; 1 John 3:3).
“Clean from all your sins” (see Psalm 103:12; Isa. 38:17; Micah 7:19). This day provided ceremonially cleansing for one year, and pictured the forgiveness of God available to all who believed and repented. Actual atonement was based on cleansing through the sacrifice of Christ (compare Rom. 3:25-26; Heb. 9:15).
The only thing I have to say about this is that this cleansing was temporary. Our cleansing in Jesus blood is forever.
Leviticus 16:31 “It [shall be] a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.”
From all servile work, as before observed. Typical of a cessation from the performance of sinful works. At least from a sinful course of life, and from a dependence on works of righteousness, when a man is brought to believe in Christ. And in the atonement which he has made (see Heb. 4:3).
“And ye shall afflict your souls by a statute for ever”: As long as the ceremonial law, and its statutes and ordinances lasted, which were to be until the time of reformation. And till that time came, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, they were to keep a severe fast, here called an afflicting of their souls. And in this respect this day differed from the seventh day Sabbath, which was rather a festival than a fast. The time of Christ’s sufferings, and of his being a sacrifice for the sins of his people, was a time of great affliction to his disciples. Then it was the children of the bridegroom fasted, he being taken from them. And true humiliation for sin, and repentance of it, are occasioned and influenced by a view of a suffering Savior. And atonement by him; and this may denote also, that such that believe in Christ, and in his atonement, must expect afflictions and troubles in this world.
In this, we see that this is a time for a person to examine himself and be cleansed for the sins of the last year.
Verses 32-34: The work of the priest on the Day of Atonement to cleanse Israel’s people from sin pointed toward the far greater work of Jesus on the cross and His once-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 10:19-22).
Leviticus 16:32 “And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, [even] the holy garments:”
Whom God shall anoint, or shall be anointed, that shall succeed in the high priesthood, as Aaron’s sons did, the eldest of them, and none but such were anointed.
“And whom he shall consecrate”: Or fill his hands, by putting the sacrifices into them (see notes on Exodus 28:41; 29:9; 29:24). By which, and by anointing him, and clothing him with the priestly garments, he was consecrated and installed into his office. In order;
“To minister in the priest’s office, in his father’s stead”: A son of a high priest was always preferred to any other, and to him it of right belonged to succeed his father in his office. And such a one, thus consecrated;
“Shall make the atonement”: On this Day of Atonement. Not a common priest, but the high priest only. So Jarchi observes, this expiation of the Day of Atonement was not right but by a high priest. For the whole section is said concerning Aaron, and therefore it must needs be said of a high priest that comes after him, that should be as he was.
“And shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments”: That is, on the Day of Atonement; in which clothes all the service peculiar to that day, as it was done by Aaron, so it was to be done by all his successors.
We see in this, that the priesthood is hereditary. The high priest, before he leaves office, is to consecrate one of his sons to take his place as high priest. The son would have been acting as priest in the temple prior to his consecration to the LORD. The linen clothes are mentioned again here, so that there would be no doubt about this garment of the high priest being holy. The high priest is never to alter the garments. The fancy garments are for representing God to the people. The linen garments are to be worn by him when he presents himself and the people to God.
Leviticus 16:33 “And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.”
The Holy of Holies, just in the same manner as Aaron had done (Lev. 16:16).
“And he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation”: The court of the tabernacle, and the Holy Place, and all in them, as Aaron did, in the places referred.
“And for the altar” (see Lev 16:18).
“And he shall make an atonement for the priests”: For himself and for his family, and for all the priests, as Aaron did by his bullock of the sin offering (Lev. 16:6).
“And for all the people of the congregation”: The whole body of the Israelites, and with them the Levites, as Aben Ezra observes. For they are not called priests; indeed, every priest was a Levite, but not every Levite a priest. Wherefore these were included not among the priests, but in the congregation of Israel. These several atonements, according to Ben Gersom, were separate and distinct, and did not hinder one another, or interfere with one another.
I will mention one more time, that the holy sanctuary and the tabernacle needed to be atoned for, because they were in the midst of a sinful people. The priest and the people were still in the flesh, so they needed atoning.
Leviticus 16:34 “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
“Once a year”: The better sacrifice of Jesus Christ was offered once-for-all, never to be repeated (compare Heb. 9:11 – 10:18). Upon that sacrifice all forgiveness of sin is based, including that of Old Testament believers.
As long as the law was in effect, this had to be done once a year. Praise God! we are living by the grace of God. We are saved and cleansed from all unrighteousness by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Leviticus Chapter 16 Continued Questions
1. Who was the only person permitted to go into the Holy of Holies?
2. The goat of the sin offering is for whom?
3. Where did the priest put the blood of the goat for the sin offering?
4. Symbolically it was as if the sins of the people were under what?
5. This blood could only ________ the sin.
6. Only the blood of _______ ________ can clear the conscience.
7. Why must the tabernacle be sacrificed for?
8. Who can be in the tabernacle while Aaron is in the holiest place?
9. Who did Aaron make atonement for?
10. What was meant by the blood being put on the horns of the altar?
11. How many times did he sprinkle the blood on the altar?
12. Why does Aaron place both of his hands on the head of the live goat?
13. How does the live goat get to the wilderness?
14. What does verse 22 tell us the goat bears for the people?
15. Where does Aaron remove his holy garments?
16. After Aaron removes the holy garment, what does he do?
17. Who is the burnt offering made for?
18. What was to be done with the fat of the offering?
19. The person who took the scapegoat to the wilderness must do what before coming back into the camp?
20. Where will the bullock and the goat be carried to be burned?
21. What day and month should they afflict their souls?
22. Approximately what time on our calendar is this?
23. How long is this statute in effect?
24. How does another high priest take office?
25. When could they stop this offering?